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J Food Prot. 2003 Jul;66(7):1126-33.

Salmonella contamination of pigs and pork in an integrated pig production system.

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  • 1University of Liege, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Food Science Department--Foods of Animal Origin, Hygiene and Microbiology Section, Sart-Tilman, Bât B43bis, 4000 Liege, Belgium.


This paper describes the monitoring of Salmonella in a closed pig production system in Belgium over a 2-year period. A sampling scheme including animal feeds and carcasses was designed to cover the entire chain of production from farrow to finishing pigs. Salmonella was detected by a method based on the use of semisolid Rappaport-Vassiliadis as a selective medium. The serotypes of the isolated strains were determined, and the antibiotic resistance of these strains to six antibiotics was also investigated. Feeds were found to be more contaminated than expected (10.2%, 34 of 332 samples). The percentage of positive fecal samples for pregnant sows (8.1%, 11 of 135 samples) was significantly higher than that for young and lactating sows (2.9%, 11 of 378 samples) (P<0.05). The percentage of positive samples for colon contents collected at the slaughterhouse (47.3%, 88 of 186 samples) was significantly higher than that for feces collected during the fattening stage (5.6%, 18 of 320 samples) (P<0.001). For carcass swab samples, the observed prevalence was 11.2% (17 of 152 samples). On farms, Salmonella recovery levels were higher for overshoe samples than for fecal samples, except for pregnant sows. Salmonella Typhimurium was the most frequently isolated serotype (32.2%, 55 of 171 samples), while Salmonella Brandenburg was predominant in the colon contents collected at the abattoir (21.4%, 18 of 84 samples). Feeds harbored a wide diversity of serotypes of minor epidemiological significance. Of 55 isolated strains of Salmonella Typhimurium, 11 (20%) were resistant to tetracycline, ampicillin, choramphenicol, streptomycin, trimethoprim, and nalidixic acid (R Type TeAmCSNa), while 12 (21.8%) were resistant to all of these antibiotics except nalidixic acid (R Type TeAmCS). The majority of Salmonella Typhimurium strains that exhibited resistance to more than four antimicrobial agents were characterized as Salmonella Typhimurium DT104 or as being closely related to Salmonella Typhimurium DT104 (7 of 12 isolates). In conclusion, our system of surveillance is effective in identifying most points of contamination in the production chain and will be useful in ongoing efforts to develop a Salmonella-free production system.

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